May 10, 2016

Youthful Offenders

OLR Report 2016-R-0067 summarizes the youthful offender laws in Connecticut.  Youthful offender laws provide a special status in adult court for cases involving minors charged with committing certain felonies when age 15 through 17.  The laws provide these cases with greater confidentiality than regular adult cases and give judges different sentencing options (CGS §§ 54-76b, et seq.).

A minor, someone charged with committing a crime when under age 18, begins his or her case in juvenile court.  If the minor is charged with committing a felony when age 15 through 17, his or her case may or must be transferred to adult court depending on the charge.  Once in adult court, the court must determine whether the minor qualifies as a "youthful offender."  To qualify, the minor cannot be charged with certain crimes (such as a class A felony) and cannot have any prior felony convictions or certain juvenile adjudications.  Even if the minor qualifies, a prosecutor can request, and the court can order, that a minor's case be moved to the regular adult criminal court docket.

If a minor is granted youthful offender status, the proceedings are private and conducted separately from adult criminal court.  Records related to the minor have greater confidentiality and the records are erased once the minor reaches age 21 if he or she has completed any required supervision or commitment from the case and has no later felony convictions.  The court also has a different list of sentencing options than those available in either adult or juvenile court. 

For more information, read the full report here.